Lessons learned… so far

Existing under a stay at home order has been an opportunity to learn a few things, some good, some not so great!  Here is my list and I urge you to make your own.  Just the process of thinking about this can reduce some of that pent up frustration

  • I thought I loved a laptop computer but I really miss my desktop one!
  • Spam does not stop arriving in my Inbox
  • There is not much on TV in the middle of the day
  • People do wonderful things for others in an emergency
  • My cat really does sleep all day
  • Pro Bono is really personal and face to face
  • Being able to operate virtually is a virtue
  • My house has never been cleaner
  • The sound of a human voice ( not a TV one) is welcomed
  • Fed-ex trucks sound different than UPS
  • We were not prepared for a pandemic.

Most important observation- greatly miss seeing, hearing, talking, having coffee, sharing lunch, complaining, laughing, encouraging you, our law students.

Pam and Stan (my new part time assistant)

How do you do pro bono virtually?

Pro bono engagement is often such a face to face activity that it can be difficult to accomplish much virtually, but…

we are trying!  With gloves, mask and  wipes at hand, I completed 12 Intakes using the Virtual VITA process. Imaging interviewing someone 6 feet away!  Not pretty but it worked. By the end of the day, our VITA team members will have the files and be preparing tax returns.  Yes, we may not be meeting clients face to face but we are providing a much needed service and real comfort to those who need their refunds the most,  And the good news? if the law student preparer is home in their pj’s in NC, they can still help.

We are also having volunteers serve as Virtual Law Clerks for a Virtual Blitz.  The lawyer chooses and copies a question posted on SC.FreeLegalAnswers.Org and sends to the student. A response is drafted, returned, reviewed and posted.  Not as much fun as a real blitz but it helps.

Right now staying busy is important. You have less time to be anxious about things you cannot change. Like the song says, ” Don’t Worry, Be Happy” or as I call it the hand-washing song!

On Wed. I will participate in a Webinar and hopes of learning of a way we can assist our elderly clients,  We miss doing wills for them or completing guardianship investigations,  Watch this space

A number of students have research, translation and updating projects in the works. Keep on trucking…

I assure you the Pro Bono Program is alive and well and here to help. I use Twitter to retweet ideas and options that might appeal, Follow us @USCLawProBono

If you have cabin fever and are feeling fine, take a look at the Harvest Hope Food Bank website. http://www.HarvestHope.Org and sign up for a volunteer slot. To keep social distancing in mind, they are doing curbside delivery of much needed food.

We are all in this together; we need each other and now more than ever is the time to stay calm, only worry about things you can control and have patience.  If petting a purring cat will help. let  me know Stan is here for you and I bet we could FaceTime.

It’s Pro Bono Program Day

as proclaimed by Mayor Steve Benjamin and members of the City Council, A special shout out to Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine for helping shepherd the proclamation through

we had a celebration planned to include cake and ice cream but sorry, it will have to be virtual now, but the current situation does not devalue all of the amazing things you have done over the past 30 years and the efforts you will make in the future. We thank you and hope to see you soon!

Celebrate March 18th UPDATE

With the cancellation of classes and events next week we will have to celebrate Pro Bono Program Day virtually. As soon as possible we will try to set a date for cake and ice cream

Watch this space

with cake and ice cream  March 18th is being proclaimed Pro Bono Program Day by Mayor Steve Benjamin and members of the City of Columbia City Council.

Join us for cake and ice cream as we celebrate 30 years of pro bono at USC Law.

Join us even if you have not gotten around to actually doing any pro bono work; we can talk about options.

March 18.       12-1:30   1st floor hallway.